Democracy in Georgia

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January 2013, Volume 24, Number 1 $12.00

Andrew J. Nathan Zhenhua Su et al. Cheng Li Tiancheng Wang Xi Chen Carl Minzner Louisa Greve Xiao Qiang & Perry Link

China at the Tipping Point?
Egypt: Why Liberalism Still Matters
Michele Dunne & Tarek Radwan

Tocqueville and the Struggle Against Corruption
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi

Charles Fairbanks & Alexi Gugushvili on Georgia Gustavo Flores-Macías on Mexico Jørgen Møller & Svend-Erik Skaaning on Sequencing R.J. May on Papua New Guinea Benjamin Reilly on Southeast Asia

Debating the Arab Transformation
Hillel Fradkin Olivier Roy

A New ChANCe for GeorGiAN DemoCrACy
Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. and Alexi Gugushvili

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Since 2006, he has been living in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he is also professor of Soviet and post-Soviet systems at Ilia State University. Alexi Gugushvili is a researcher at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and an affiliated fellow at the Center for Social Sciences in Tbilisi. In 2011, he was visiting research fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. omething amazing happened in Georgia’s 1 October 2012 parliamentary elections. The government lost and it gave up power, aside from the now-weakened presidency that it will hold for another year. A new coalition known as Georgian Dream ran under the leadership of Georgia’s richest man, the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, and won 85 seats in the unicameral, 150-member Parliament. The United National Movement of President Mikheil Saakashvili was the surprise loser, dropping from 119 to just 65 seats (or 59 now that six MPs have declared themselves independents). The popular-vote result was similarly lopsided, with Georgian Dream beating the National Movement 55 to 40 percent. Georgia’s post-Soviet background and circumstances make the 2012 opposition win and subsequent orderly handover of power truly remarkable. Indeed, among the “competitive authoritarian” regimes found in what used to be the USSR, it is nearly unheard of. Several election-generated turnovers took place as the Soviet Union was collapsing almost two-and-a-half decades ago, but none led to a democratic outcome. Later, in Georgia in 2003, Ukraine a year later, and in Kyrgyzstan in 2005, governments were thrown out in largely nonviolent “color revolutions” precipitated by stolen elections. In Moldova in 2001 and Ukraine in 2010, governments went down to defeat at the polls and left peacefully, but in both cases the victors were Communists or their descendants, and the upshot was increased auJournal of Democracy Volume 24, Number 1 January 2013 © 2013 National Endowment for Democracy and The Johns Hopkins University Press


Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. and Alexi Gugushvili


thoritarianism. The case that most closely parallels Georgia in 2012 is that of Moldova in 2009 and 2010, but the changes there were halfrevolutionary and seem to have led mainly to more confusion and stalemate. It is far too early to know for sure, and the precedents are unpromising, but for the moment Georgia’s new government looks like a democratic regime that has come to power without recourse to revolutionary action. Georgia’s November 2003 Rose Revolution had brought Saakashvili and the National Movement to power through a mostly peaceful process of mass civil disobedience that flared in response to tainted parliamentary elections. Saakashvili, his triumph sealed by a landslide victory in the January 2004 presidential balloting, then challenged a common feature of post-Soviet life: official corruption. Surprising social scientists who had long claimed that graft sprang from deep wellsprings near the very foundations of Georgian society and culture, Saakashvili and his coalition moved swiftly to root out low- and mid-level corruption in the state bureaucracy, vastly boosting the public revenue at a stroke. Saakashvili made the national police an effective, high-morale force in this country of 4.5 million people, and the police in turn endowed the state with an impressive coercive capability. A massive crime-fighting campaign filled the prisons and changed the culture: Georgian boys no longer looked upon gangsters as role models. Ordinary people saw that the government could make a difference in their lives simply by carrying out its basic functions in an effective way. Important groundwork for democracy had been laid. These successes gave Georgia a reputation as the one post-Soviet country where real reform had taken hold. But they had a cost. A sympathetic analyst describes the National Movement leadership thus:
They look at their opponents in a quite dismissive way: not as people who represent genuine and legitimate societal interests but as forces of corruption and backwardness. Arguably, the government’s agenda is to change Georgian society rather than to represent its current interests and demands.1

The National Movement wanted modernization—it wanted Georgia to join Europe—yet without running democratic risks. For a while, it had things both ways. The Georgian state became more efficient and (at least at its lower levels) more honest, while the president and his party drifted toward autocracy. Saakashvili became the unchallenged master of Parliament and the courts. His whims, including the idea of moving Parliament and the Supreme Court to provincial towns, were swiftly obeyed. So were his riskiest decisions, such as his dispatch of troops to the disputed region of South Ossetia in early August 2008—a move that touched off a brief but punishing war with Russia. The judiciary became his rubber stamp. In 2010 alone, the


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Tbilisi Civil Court held 7,296 criminal trials that produced exactly three full acquittals. 2

“A Little Bit of Leninism”
It is true that Saakashvili and his government respected the forms of democracy to a degree unusual in the former Soviet Union, and that this respect gradually went up over time. Yet the president and his camp also engaged in endless maneuvering designed to isolate, marginalize, and penetrate any sort of political opposition. To split the opposition vote, they bought or fabricated whole parties—the government-organized Christian Democratic Movement is an example of the latter. When such tactics fell short, the National Movement resorted to ballot fraud. Media freedom declined progressively after 2007, when the government closed and later seized Imedi, the only independent television channel seen across the whole country. As OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president Riccardo Migliori put it, the National Movement showed “a little [bit] of Leninism . . . trying to destroy their enemies.” 3 High-level corruption continued. In an unusual twist, political rather than personal motives were foremost. The U.S. businessman Fady Asly reports:
[In 2008,] the authorities decided to generate extra budgetary income through the creation of artificial monopolies where various business activities were “given” to friends who were a façade for high ranking people in the government. . . . Businesses that are perceived to be in the opposition, those businesses can simply not operate, they are the victim of endless audits, delays at customs, liens on their accounts and ultimately exile, if not prison.4

In fact, anyone outside the ruling elite who had money was vulnerable to the tactics of property seizure and forced contribution, usually without benefit of any legal process whatsoever. The result of this financial terror, as Asly says, was that “Georgian businesses stopped investing in the country.” The task of fighting poverty through economic development went untended. According to polls, 70 percent of the populace is out of employment. It would be stirring to report that as the government grew more high-handed, the public rose in defense of liberty, but that is not what happened. In Georgia, seven decades of fervidly false Soviet exhortations to public-spiritedness had emptied the public space of citizens. Distrust of anyone but relatives and friends had come to seem as natural as breathing. For Georgians, politics is an Antarctica, bleak and repellent to life. One may write, talk on television, or even attend demonstrations with tens of thousands of others, but joining a

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. and Alexi Gugushvili


party, organizing a political movement, or running for office—these are seen as acts only a slight cut above selling one’s body in the street. As the October 2012 parliamentary races and the October 2013 presidential balloting loomed, Saakashvili and his team were feeling secure. They had rewritten the constitution so as gradually to turn Georgia’s hyperpresidential system Georgian Dream was an into a parliamentary one. Most Geor“anti” movement, united gians who thought about the matter not by policy positions or assumed that Saakashvili, like Rusconstituencies but by dissia’s Vladimir Putin, would trade gust with the government. offices to stay in charge, migrating from the presidency to the premiership. He seemed to bestride the narrow world of Georgian politics like a colossus. The opposition was split, shot through with government influence, completely discredited. The National Movement could not lose. Or could it? In October 2011, the one man in Georgia who could defy Saakashvili suddenly rose against him. Bidzina Ivanishvili had amassed a vast fortune in Russia during the privatization era of the 1990s, and held perhaps a quarter of poor Georgia’s US$24 billion annual GDP in his back pocket. The successful challenge that he would mount confirms Lucan Way’s argument that economic “oligarchs” are a tremendous danger to competitive authoritarian regimes.5 A smart, self-made working-class boy who became immensely wealthy in the lurid carnival of Boris Yeltsin’s Russia, the 55-year-old Ivanishvili continued to prize his privacy—living in a $50-million futuristic house in the hills above Tbilisi—and his rectitude. Righting injustice seems to be his deepest motive for entering politics. Without political experience, distrusting strangers, he wants to run things himself. He made many mistakes in his campaign. But on the most important question his judgment was right. As late as the morning of the election, Western diplomats, like some of his own advisors earlier, were still counseling him to accept second place regardless of the exact vote. Ivanishvili ignored them, and remained confident that his cause would win big. For all his isolation, he had intuited the huge dissatisfaction of the Georgian public. Ivanishvili slowly built a party from his friends and clients, and a coalition that folded in the less compromised parties of the old opposition, both called Georgian Dream. As with Saakashvili’s coalition in its early days, Ivanishvili’s combined the most diverse elements. Georgian Dream was an “anti” movement, united not by policy positions or constituencies but by disgust with the government. Most of the public figures whom Ivanishvili approached to run on his Georgian Dream list


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were too scared to say yes. As a result, the bottom of the list contained some questionable characters, disreputable or xenophobic. But Ivanishvili gave starring roles to the parties that would win favor in the West. His campaign headquarters was full of Americans and Georgian-Americans who had a major influence on his choice of strategies. The successful campaign thus showed the marks of Western “leverage.”

Campaigning with Malware
Ivanishvili’s defection triggered a red alert in Saakashvili’s palace. Behind the approaching tidal wave of money, the president suspected, lurked Moscow. The government’s first reactions were to take away Ivanishvili’s Georgian citizenship and to sneak DarkComet and Hellraiser malware onto his family’s computers. With a click of the mouse the Ministry of the Interior controlled Georgian Dream’s computers. They could log every keystroke; read passwords; steal, modify, or insert files; and turn on video cameras and microphones to beam what was happening in the conference room or bedroom straight to Saakashvili.6 Remarkably, Georgian Dream succeeded even though the incumbents knew in advance its entire strategy. Although Georgian Dream made the feeble economy its central issue, only in the summer did the government devise detailed economic proposals and mount a campaign to press them. For the bulk of the campaign, the government met Georgian Dream’s electoral challenge with costly public works and padded public payrolls, with boasts about the modern architecture with which it had graced the country, and with constant threats to fire any state employees who failed to support their elected masters. Previous actions suggested that the threats were not empty. “Do you personally know someone whom you believe was fired from a state/public job because of their political beliefs?” asked the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) in its August poll. Almost a fifth of respondents in Tbilisi (19 percent) said yes, while the figure across the country as a whole was 14 percent.7 These numbers are extraordinarily high. The government made no distinction between the state and the government in power: At the Rose Revolution, the National Movement’s party flag had become the flag of the country. The government identified the state with a political party in the Soviet manner. The National Movement had slipped into rule by fear. Police officers and other state employees harassed Georgian Dream campaign workers and their relatives. Some fear was centrally inspired, some came from local officials simply doing their jobs in the time-tested way, and some was projected by the public. The worry that Ivanishvili would buy the country was not groundless. Saakashvili used it to ban corporate campaign donations and restrict any individual’s giving to 0.2 percent of GDP. Within these constraints, the

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. and Alexi Gugushvili


battle centered on Georgian Dream’s attempt to reach beyond the capital by means of television. In the end, the government largely succeeded in protecting its monopoly on televised information, but fell victim to an older yet still more potent technology: rumor. The government inflicted more than $125 million in fines for illegal donations and vote-buying on Ivanishvili, his bank and other companies, his political allies, and his donors. The OSCE noted that the government’s enforcement of campaign laws “target[ed] mainly the opposition,” and that officials investigated people “without respect for due process or in an intimidating manner that may have deterred other potential donors.”8 Large fines were assessed thrice: once against the donor, once against the receiver (typically a Georgian Dream coalition party), and once against Ivanishvili for allegedly being the donor’s original source of cash (not that the government ever proved this). Moreover, the government insisted on counting fines as campaign contributions, thereby pushing Georgian Dream closer to campaign spending limits. Those who could not or would not pay saw their bank accounts seized and their businesses or homes taken and sold at auction, sometimes to government supporters at bargain-basement prices. While Georgian Dream had tried to parry this attack by various maneuvers, some probably illegal, in August the government declared that Ivanishvili’s coalition had passed the spending limit, thereby legally barring itself from the election. But then Saakashvili’s people flinched. Fearing foreign and public disapproval, they declared that they would refrain from enforcing the law. The government attack on Georgian Dream shows how strange is competitive authoritarianism. Opposing what they viewed as a treasonous enemy, Saakashvili and his lieutenants found that they had imprisoned themselves in a box of democratic rules. Forcing themselves to fight within their own box, they used weapons that laid bare their unwillingness to give up power and their contempt for any ideas of neutral fairness. Yet these weapons failed. At first, Georgian Dream made only slow progress. Many who disliked the government were skeptical. If the government faked the election results, as was expected, it would take huge demonstrations and the threat of another revolution to force a turnover. Three experiences with revolution, iron or velvet, had left educated Georgians deeply averse to it. So deciding how to vote became, as one intellectual put it, a “deep, apocalyptic crisis, which squeezes from every human soul what is deepest in it.” By early summer, it became apparent that Georgian Dream’s appeal was penetrating the countryside. Villages and families were torn apart. By August, an inquisitive researcher could reasonably conclude that Georgian Dream was winning. Western-sponsored polls said the opposite, or seemed to. The August NDI poll placed Georgian Dream’s support at just 12 percent. Foreign diplomats and journalists, National Movement leaders, and even some


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in Georgian Dream approached the election expecting the National Movement to prevail. What these observers failed to reckon with was fear. In a muddy Georgian village, the rare pollster who shows up to ask you how you will vote too closely resembles the familiar National Movement representative who shows up to ask you whether you are voting correctly. Where people vote, or answer polls, because of fear, they will vote very differently if change seems likely. Moreover, fear can turn into rage. It did so on September 20, when opposition television showed videos, hoarded by Georgian Dream and now detonated, of guards and their superiors—including the deputy director of the penitentiary system—torturing prisoners and even raping some with broom handles. Why did this scandal have such a decisive impact? To begin with, the release of these videos by Georgian Dream testified, like many of the National Movement’s tactics, to the power of kompromat—embarrassing revelations emerging out of secrecy—in communist and postcommunist societies. Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization and Gorbachev’s glasnost were vast explosions of kompromat. The Georgiy Gongadze tapes had doomed Ukrainian strongman Leonid Kuchma. When so much had been hidden by the Georgian government, the videos seemed to display the deepest truth. Moreover, postcommunist people feel pushed around, humiliated, and degraded by the holders of power. Seeing new prisoners lined up neatly, each with his personal file, to be taunted, mauled, and perhaps defiled reminded Georgians how their government showed them in other ways that they had no effective rights and no power, and that they were at the disposal of those who did. As soon as the videos came out, multiple student demonstrations began breaking out in Tbilisi. People replaced their Facebook avatars with the color black, and the torture dominated conversations. Many believe that these videos cost the National Movement the election. It would be more accurate to say that they lifted the Georgian Dream victory beyond the margin of cheating. The new outrage put change in the air and disarmed fear.

The Casting of Ballots
And so Georgia voted. For the proportionally elected half of Parliament (77 seats), official returns show that Georgian Dream received just under 55 percent and 44 seats, while the National Movement garnered only 40.3 percent and 33 seats, a disaster for any governing party (other parties totaled 4.7 percent and won no seats). As regards the majoritarian, single-member–district seats, where the National Movement had been expected to prevail, the observed differences across the 73 districts were marginal. In this side of the system, which overrepresents less populous districts by a factor of as much as 25, National Movement candidates on average ran 3.5 percentage points

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. and Alexi Gugushvili


better than the National Movement did in the proportional voting. The differences in the 2008 parliamentary elections had been at least twice as high. Perhaps voters in 2012 guessed that only a crushing opposition victory could foreclose the prospect of a revolution-triggering disputed election. Georgian Dream picked up 41 of its 85 seats in the first-past-the-post districts, for a success rate of 56.2 percent in those 73 races. A simple bivariate analysis reveals that Georgian Dream’s support was strongest in areas that were more urbanized and populous, where average levels of schooling were higher, and in which most voters were Georgian in ethnicity and Orthodox Christian in religious background.9 These constituencies had been the first stronghold of the National Movement against Shevardnadze. But support for the ruling party had dwindled in them over Saakashvili’s near-decade in power, and his government could not draw enough compensating votes from remoter districts with lower average educational levels and more residents of non-Georgian or Muslim background. These areas traditionally deliver votes for whatever government is in power. By banking on them, the National Movement was in effect betting on the state to carry it to a win at the polls. But the National Movement lost. Where mean householddeprivation levels were either high or low, voters went for Georgian Dream. In the middle-range areas—places that are still poor by most standards—the National Movement carried the day. Turnout was 61.3 percent of registered voters nationwide, almost 8 points higher than it had been for the 2008 parliamentary elections. In Tbilisi, turnout jumped a whopping 25 points. The participation rate increased in about four out of five districts; across these, about two-thirds of voters voted against the National Movement. It seems that people who had sat out previous contests had become motivated to oppose the ruling party. The areas where turnout dropped most dramatically—by half in some cases—were those poor, rural, non-Georgian districts that had shown abnormally high turnout in 2008. It seems likely that voter rolls had been padded to facilitate massive fraud. In the southern province of Tsalka, where most of the populace has left for Greece, 2012 monitors found a nearly empty village still listed as home to a thousand voters. The turnout pattern, in short, fits the hypothesis that the National Movement leaders were ready to make votes appear out of thin air.Yet they scrapped the idea once they realized the size of Georgian Dream’s lead and contemplated the degree of scrutiny—the most in Georgian history—that opposition-party, NGO, and international observers were applying to the electoral process and its results. In any case, on October 2 Saakashvili generously announced that his National Movement had lost the election and would go into opposition. Under the constitution that will remain in effect through most of 2013, he could probably have forced a constitutional crisis by sending to the


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new Parliament his own nominees for prime minister. He might have faced a revolution had he taken this course, however, and the foreign ambassadors were against it. Neither the state’s high coercive capability nor a disciplined party prevented an opening to democratization. The third great surprise (after Georgian Dream’s victory and Saakashvili’s concession) was how few National Movement leaders abandoned their party. The ministers of justice, interior, and defense fled the country, but most Saakashvili lieutenants have stayed loyal.

A Fourth Chance
Georgia is lucky to be getting a fourth chance at democracy, after the opportunities under Zviad Gamsakhurdia (1990–92), Eduard Shevardnadze (1992–2003), and Saakashvili faded. But this chance remains a fragile one. The pattern has been that the freedom movement, almost without realizing what is happening, turns into a ruling party with no effective opposition to check it. The resulting abuses and excesses lead to unpopularity, which in turn leads to heavy dependence on state resources to stay in office. Then the wheel turns and a new freedom movement finally pushes the old, corrupted one out, only to become another link in the chain. Could this be the fate of Georgian Dream? The biggest worry in this regard is that the National Movement, whose lifeblood was control of state resources, will now wither away and fail to provide meaningful opposition. Certainly the National Movement faces a wave of charges, revelations, and court cases that could leave it discredited. Without the state, it has little money yet must face Ivanishvili’s billions. How long will it control key assets such as its television networks? The presidency is the National Movement’s until October 2013. So is all that depends upon it, including local government and to some extent the army. The National Movement enjoys an entrenched position in various state institutions and businesses. Saakashvili can sabotage Georgian Dream policies if he likes, and perhaps even maintain a Turkish-style “deep state” that defies electoral results. But such moves would contradict the National Movement’s whole rationale, which is to lead Georgia toward democracy and the West, so let us hope that the temptation to wage a bureaucratic form of guerrilla warfare will be resisted. Happily, the National Movement may be able to compete openly and successfully for office. Unlike many other former ruling parties in competitive authoritarian countries, it has an ideological orientation (modernizing) and a core of convinced loyalists. In its ranks are talented politicians who can draw voters. The influence of intellectuals and the “libertarian” faction will grow. The National Movement may have the strength to endure as a long-term opposition party with hopes of re-

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. and Alexi Gugushvili


gaining power. This is a vital gear in the machinery of democracy that is missing in many competitive authoritarian regimes. For all its dark deeds, the National Movement deserves outside help in surviving as a democratic party. The new Georgian government, meanwhile, must now face all the problems that the National Movement covered up, plus a mutinous public full of demands. If Ivanishvili really retires in eighteen months as promised, his coalition will split and his government will fall. His hopefulness, good intentions, inexperience, and political na¦veté are not rarities in the ranks of Georgian Dream. The new government needs help. It will make many mistakes, become less well liked, and be tempted to replace declining popularity with state power and Ivanishvili’s money. His cash was vital in the opening to democracy, but piles of it mounded atop state power could smother democracy.

Justice Between Regimes?
The headline events since the new government took power have been arrests of former military and security officials. The first to fall were a onetime interior minister and the military’s chief of staff (cashiered by Saakashvili after the election to help secure his continued control of the army), plus a brigade commander and a number of Interior Ministry officials who carried out illegal surveillance of Georgian Dream and earlier opposition leaders via computer malware. These officials now stand accused of “abuse of power,” illegal arrests, kidnapping, blackmail, bribery, and so forth. Western diplomats and journalists immediately decried these arrests as vengeful. More will come. In reality, the first arrests seem to have been motivated by fear of reported conspiracies by National Movement loyalists within the armed forces. As such, these arrests raise issues not so much of retribution as of the relative constitutional powers of the president and prime minister vis-`a-vis the armed forces. Ivanishvili does harp on injuries done to him and to Georgian Dream. But in essence, his critics are complaining about the very nature of politics. When scandals are concealed by a government, then revealed, their exposure and punishment inevitably will seem onesided. So it was in France during the Dreyfus Affair and in the United States after Watergate. There can be little doubt that Georgian Dream is doing what the majority of the public still wants it to do. If during the Rose Revolution the public was fed up with crime and corruption, now the public wants injustices done to individuals to be redressed. The good side of this is the new government’s greater emphasis on civil rights and procedural propriety. But both new and old political instincts have a punitive side, which should provoke reflection. As investigations go on, they could change the whole character of


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Georgian Dream’s coming to power by election. Most decisive is the question of President Saakashvili. If there was lawless punishment of important individuals in a country so small—and with a political system so centralized—the decision to inflict such punishment was likely to have come from the president personally. If someone who held the presidency for nine years is charged, arrested, brought to court, and impeached or convicted for such offenses (or resigns to avoid such dangers, as Ivanishvili had once hoped Saakashvili would do), this will change the whole definition of Georgian Dream’s victory. It will begin to look like another revolution. Facebook videos are now surfacing designed to awaken the hopes of poor people defrauded by Shevardnadze’s ministers in the early 1990s. But to open up those Dark Ages of Vandal and Viking pillage would keep the country in chaotic litigation for decades, and without independent courts. Ivanishvili will confront the need to draw a line, a need that he has not yet faced. The law, on which he innocently relies, never draws a line limiting justice—except by an act of political will. In Georgia, a line could be drawn short of the highest officials, or beneath the president himself. Or lines could be drawn chronologically, at the Rose Revolution, or at Saakashvili’s repressive turn in November 2007, for example. That turn seems to have repelled Ivanishvili himself: He had supported and funded Saakashvili for years, but broke with him after 2007. In a longer historical perspective, Georgia needs to free itself from successive punishments of punishers. Three failed attempts to achieve the modes and orders of the democratic West have left behind a heavy burden of self-contempt that itself obstructs the confident seizure of democratic opportunities. The act of liberation from a self-defeating preoccupation with punishment will require a rethinking of recent Georgian history. Saakashvili never acknowledged Shevardnadze’s contribution to his own accomplishments. In the time of Georgian Dream, someone needs to give Saakashvili and the National Movement a place in Georgian history better than the cells where prisoners were abused. Rewriting English and Scottish history, Romantic authors such as Sir Walter Scott and William Makepeace Thackeray healed the wounded relationship between the victorious modernizers and the defeated defenders of throne and altar by presenting the latter movement, the Jacobites, as noble but doomed by a lack of self-discipline. The concepts that could heal the deep grievances dividing Georgians come from fiction and from religion: inherited curses, tragic flaws, guilt, atonement, and forgiveness. If Georgian Dream makes these difficult choices wrongly, then Georgian society will need to put a check on it. This failed to happen in the National Movement’s case, for there is still not much life in the yawning social space between the family and the government in Georgia. Citizens distrust one another, and even activists have an aversion to the realities

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. and Alexi Gugushvili


of organization, leadership, planning, and funding. There are NGOs that have played brave and useful roles in the opening to democracy, but they depend on Western money and normally shun politics. Now, the urgent need is to nourish activism that explicitly presses demands on government. The Orthodox Church and the business community outweigh the slender NGO sector, but each is deeply flawed and some would say that neither should count as part of legitimate civil society. Ivanishvili’s mistrust of monopolies could help to free business from its parasitic relationship with the state. Both the business community and the Church need attention from democracy advocates at home and abroad. Some of the current ebullition is unsavory, involving as it does taking revenge for National Movement injustices or stealing living space in office buildings. Yet the willingness to act and press demands is more important, in the final account, than what the demands are. It is a route through which the people, numbed by Soviet despotism, then sedated again by fear of the National Movement government, is recovering the use of its limbs. It may stumble, but it needs to keep moving. Whether it can now actually stagger forward into democracy not only will be momentous for Georgia, but may foretell the democratic prospects of other countries seemingly deadened to the appeal of free politics. NOTES
1. Ghia Nodia, “The Record of the Rose Revolution: Mixed But Still Impressive,” in Vicken Cheterian, ed., From Perestroika to Rainbow Revolutions: Reform and Revolution after Socialism (London: Hurst, 2012), 107. 2. “Acquittal Rate 0.04% in Tbilisi City Court,” Civil Georgia, 23 December 2010, available at 3. “OSCE Statements Firm in Their Stance on Fair Elections,” Messenger (Tbilisi), 24 August 2012. 4. Interview with Madona Gasanova, The Financial (Tbilisi), 22 October 2012. 5. Lucan A. Way, “Ukraine’s Orange Revolution: Kuchma’s Failed Authoritarianism,” Journal of Democracy 16 (April 2005): 137–38. 6. Author’s interviews with U.S. computer-security expert, 8 and 30 October 2012; Adam Kujawa, “You Dirty RAT! Part 1—DarkComet,” Malwarebytes Unpacked, 9 June 2012, available at http//; David Ignatius, “Georgia’s Rowdy Election Campaign,” Washington Post, 20 September 2012; Georgia, Chief Prosecutor’s Office, 16 November 2012. 7. Luis Navarro and Ian T. Woodward, “Public Attitudes in Georgia: Results of [an] August 2012 Survey Carried Out for NDI by CRRC,” available at 8. OSCE, “International Election Observation Mission: Georgia—Parliamentary Elections, 1 October 2012, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions,” 2 and 9, available at 9. We drew data from the Central Election Commission of Georgia, the National Statistics Office of Georgia, and the Generation and Gender Survey of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

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